Like any business, startups need to regularly revisit and revise their budgets in light of market trends in order to exploit new opportunities. For instance, Big Data and more complex analytics have certainly been a huge help in making better business decisions—provided your company is ready to embrace the new technology.
We asked 10 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) where they’re looking at boosting spending in 2015 to best position themselves for the coming year.
Apps are where it’s at—we haven’t been on that train and we may have missed it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. We’re going to be allocating a bit of budget to build more apps with better features for our clients.
Consumers are moving to mobile. Baidu recently announced that it is a mobile-first search engine. What does this mean? It basically means that we all need to figure out mobile. If we haven’t figured it out, we better do it now as it’s already big and won’t be getting smaller.
It is so important to be able to quickly and effectively show consumers how your product or service functions. Attention spans are short, and “how it works” videos are an easy way to get your message across.
Publishing and Editorial
Content marketing is a misleading name. Really, content marketing has very little to do with marketing and everything to do with content.
Organizations that hope to double down on their content strategies will start realizing that their success will rely more and more on creating original, high-quality, targeted content. This requires a team. Not a team of marketers, but a team of writers, designers, videographers and strategists.
Doubling down on content means becoming a publishing house instead of a marketing team. Your publishing and editorial team might take overall direction from or work closely with marketing, but they should have the freedom to act independently. Give them the reigns and allow them to do what they do best –- make compelling content that speaks to your audience.
Software Development Talent
We plan to hire more software developers to improve our internal tools and our web and mobile products. People spend more time and make more decisions online every year, so we are focused on improving our web presence and our customer experience on mobile.
I’m investing more budget into building personal media brands and putting a human face on the companies I’m part of. People are losing sight of who’s behind branded companies. A trusted brand is an important shortcut, but people like to know who they’re doing business with. Knowing the “who: behind the brand increases customer confidence and loyalty.
Social marketing—definitely social marketing. If you don’t know social or understand its impact in today’s market, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. You have to understand the likes of Facebook and Instagram and use those platforms to build your customer base and your brand overall.
Niche Writing Talent
Our current readers (we’re a personal finance website) have requested that we post more information and tips regarding higher-level finance topics, such as indexed annuities, the next stock market bubble and a variety of other topics we haven’t covered in the past. We’re looking into hiring more high-quality finance writers in order to meet this need.
We plan to allocate more money and human resources to community building. This includes hiring more community managers to organize events and webinars that bring our customers together to learn from each other. We’ve seen that users like products not just for their functionality, but the community of support that surrounds it.
We’ve also experienced noticeable return on investment from our efforts in engaging our customers beyond the initial sale and software support. We invite them to join our open forum to give us product feedback; afterward, we see an immediate increase in customer referrals.
Beacon Software Development
We plan to invest more in beacon software development and other location-based technologies because they will have a dramatic impact on the future of human-technology interactions. I plan to take on more clients who are interested in exploring the capabilities of this technology so we can be involved in its development as it expands beyond retail.
Banner ads are dying and consumers are wary of clicking links that will aggressively try to sell them a “miracle” product or service. Instead, we hope to invest further in native advertising, to ensure we’re providing value to customers before they even engage with our brand. To build a business with staying power, we know how important it is to develop user trust—and we believe native advertising is one of the best solutions for that in 2015.
Lead photo by aisletwentytwo